Category Archives: Democratic Renewal

IAN MCAULEY. The National Party’s Dämmerung – an awakening for representative democracy?

The National Party represents a declining demographic with values out of step with most Australians. In most democracies it would be sidelined as a fringe group. It holds disproportionate political influence only because we are not facing up to the … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. January 26?

When we examine the violations of law when the British took possession of eastern Australia in 1788, it’s little wonder that a growing number of people are seeking a date other than January 26 to celebrate Australia Day.

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Indigenous affairs | 1 Comment

STEVE DOVERS. Australia as world leader in conservation?

With the environment a low political priority and few significant environmental initiatives in recent years, maybe Australia just isn’t up to being the world leader in conservation it once was. But an analysis of our past achievements shows that we … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Anyone for disruption?

The ugly chickens of the neoliberal era in Australian public policy are relentlessly coming home to roost: stagnating wages, high unemployment (especially among young people), declining standards in public hospitals, schools, universities, and TAFE institutes, homelessness on the increase, more … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics | 7 Comments

TONY SMITH. The political ugliness we cannot hide

Half a century ago in The Australian Ugliness Robin Boyd reminded us what  happens when architectural planners embrace utilitarianism and abandon aesthetics. During the days of the Howard Coalition Government, examining the invasion of Iraq and policy on asylum seekers, … Continue reading

Posted in Current affairs, Democratic Renewal, Environment, Politics, Refugees and asylum seekers | 7 Comments

GEORGE RENNIE. Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right

Lobbying is a necessary component of representative democracy, yet poses one of its greatest threats.

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | 1 Comment

JOAN STAPLES. NGOs and a clash of world views

Coalition Governments have been trying to stop NGO advocacy for 20 years.  Current attacks on the sector are a clash between a neoliberal old world order dominated by fossil fuels and a world view based on sustainability and equity.  Unfortunately, … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Who can we trust?

In the series “Fairness, Opportunity and Security” last year I drew attention to the pervasive loss of trust in institutions . Essential Research revealed that the six least trusted institutions were: the news media, state parliaments, trade unions, business groups, … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. His speech at the Graham Freudenberg Tribute Dinner, 2 June 2017

On 2 June, the NSW Branch of the Labor Party hosted a dinner for Graham Freudenberg, former speechwriter for federal and state Labor leaders, including Arthur Calwell, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr and Simon Crean. … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Advance Australia!

Madness in the Coalition’s ranks over the Finkel report and sleaziness in ALP ranks over clandestine foreign donations are just the latest evidence that the current pack of parliamentarians is incapable of governing in the interests of all Australians. What … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics | 2 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. An appreciation of Ian Marsh.

Ian Marsh who passed away last week, was a highly original thinker with the genuine curiosity of a true intellectual. Ian liked to describe himself as one of the last ‘Deakinite Liberals’. This apt description reflected: Ian’s contributions to industrial … Continue reading

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JOHN QUIGGIN. The OECD joins the backlash against unfettered globalisation

The OECD, in a recent report, has recognised that globalisation has many dimensions. Its enthusiasm for globalisation is undiminished, but it does acknowledge that the costs of globalisation “have been larger, more localised and more durable than previously thought, and … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. Dysfunction rules, OK?

Britain’s election result was a shock, even in today’s volatile political climate.  The outcome is potentially disastrous, but it is unclear whether Corbyn could have pursued his agenda even if he had actually won.

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GEOFF DAVIES. The UK election: lessons for Australian stunned mullets

The UK election result is heartening, joining a series of demonstrations that people want positive change. But in Australia we seem to be paralysed, no-one willing to pick up the torch, many still unwilling to change their old allegiances despite … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Britain and Brexit: The Starting Pistol Fires!

No amount of political pressure from the EU would force Britain to accept a package it doesn’t want, and vice versa. A closure without agreement because of the Article 50 deadline would be an ‘own goal’ for all parties. Yet … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. Learning from the UK election

There are many local factors explaining the comparative fortunes of Theresa May’s Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in last week’s UK election. Issues around Brexit are unique to the UK, and May’s campaign was inept. But Corbyn’s comparative … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The British Election and Brexit

Mrs. May called the election ostensibly to strengthen her mandate in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. Although she failed to strengthen her majority, it is doubtful if the election result will have any impact on the Brexit negotiations.

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ALLAN PATIENCE. It’s Time for New Politics.

How do we explain the phenomenon of a Bernie Sanders, who almost certainly would have won the US presidency if he’d been the Democrat candidate running against Trump? How do we account for the astounding failure of, first, David Cameron … Continue reading

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DUNCAN MACLAREN. May’s Folly: the Brexit election result

The people who will suffer most from economic meltdown likely to follow from the UK election will be the country’s poorest and most vulnerable as funds dry up for public services, jobs disappear as firms move to the EU and … Continue reading

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QUENTIN DEMPSTER. Slack electoral regulations and the arrogance of power

Senator Pauline Hanson denies any impropriety.  We are told there is nothing to see in the Liberal Party siphoning cash from their MPs’ taxpayer-funded electoral allowances purportedly to fund the party’s voter analysis entity Parakeelia Pty. Ltd. ALP Senator Sam Dastyari’s … Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. The case for mandating governance training for NFP boards

The not-for-profit sector performs a vital role delivering services that meet important social needs. It provides a voice for some of our most disadvantaged groups and individuals. Not-for-profit status also allows organisations of professionals to represent their members under a … Continue reading

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PETER HUGHES. Citizenship Test Mark II – How much juice can you squeeze out of an orange?

It seems that Coalition governments have developed a habit of squeezing the citizenship “orange” for political advantage when there are some community concerns about migrants. Last week’s announcement by the Turnbull Coalition government, at a time of poor government performance … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Alexey Navalny has roused a democratic Russia. Turnbull and Bishop are too busy sleeping to care.

In Australia we conjure Russia through the basest of filters: take your pick of Pauline Hanson expressing her admiration for Russia’s autocrat Vladimir Putin, or of the sometime boxer-sometime- Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s vows to ‘shirtfront’ said autocrat.  

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

SPENCER ZIFCAK. From Imbroglio to Fiasco: Malcolm Turnbull Loses the Plot on S.18C

The argument about the terms of Sections 18C and 18D of the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) began with the case brought against the journalist, Andrew Bolt, now some six years ago. The temperature of the debate has risen and … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. India’s democracy is strained by illiberalism

India continues to be robustly, even chaotically, democratic. But its freedom is under growing threat. 

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JOHN MENADUE. Failed Leadership in Church and State!

From my experience and observation good leadership is about creating disequilibrium and a process to galvanise the group to change. Without disequilibrium there will be no worthwhile change.  

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

RICHARD ECKERSLEY. The Trump imbroglio: confusion and contradiction everywhere

Global consumer capitalism, is reducing quality of life: stripping our lives of intrinsic worth and meaning; weakening communities; undermining health and wellbeing; creating grotesque inequities; destroying the natural environment; and undermining our faith in humanity’s future.  

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JOSEPH CAMILLERI. The Politics of Paralysis: Australian style

It is hard not to conclude that our major parties have been the primary stumbling block. They seem singularly ill equipped to envisage, let alone manage, the institutional changes called for by a globalising and increasingly interdependent world. If innovation … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. The End is Nigh! Anticipating a Post-Capitalist World

Capitalism is in crisis. What Marx referred to as its internal contradictions have begun undermining its very foundations. It is time to ask what a post-capitalist world will be like.  

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John Menadue. Democratic Renewal; Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest?

This is a repost from May 13, 2015. There are many key public issues that we must address such as climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum seekers. … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Freedom, opportunity and security series, Media, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments